Tom O'Brien: Russell Wilson unlikely to return to Wolfpack

Staff writerFebruary 2, 2011 

Russell Wilson’s college football career appears to be over.

N.C. State plans on moving forward without the All-ACC quarterback, Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said Wednesday. O’Brien said he doesn’t expect Wilson, the starter for the previous three seasons, to return to school after he goes to training camp with the Colorado Rockies later this month.

“Our plans are he’s not coming back,” O’Brien said. “He’ll be a baseball player. We have to move forward with Glennon. We’ve planned for this day and Michael’s ready to do it.”

Wilson, who threw for 3,563 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2010, led State to a 9-4 record and the No. 25 ranking in the final AP poll. A first-team All-ACC selection in ’08 and second-team in ’10, Wilson ranks among the best quarterbacks in school history. He’s third on the career list in total offense (9,628 yards), third in passing yards (8,545) and second in passing touchdowns (76).

Wilson has a season of football eligibility remaining but has a contract with the Rockies, who drafted him in the fourth round last June. He announced on Jan. 17 that he was going to the Rockies’ training camp and would “fully concentrate” on baseball but did not rule out returning for the football season.

As a graduate, Wilson has the option to transfer and play at another Division I school for the ’11 season.

“We just can’t sit here and say, ‘OK, we’re going to wait for Russell to come back,’ ” O’Brien said. “We have to move forward.”

O’Brien said the door is open for Wilson to return but said with the loss of three top receivers, it was “crucial” to have the quarterback in spring practice. O’Brien said playing quarterback was a “365-day-a-year” job.

“It [would] be a tough situation for him to come back and do it,” O’Brien said. “We would have to see if that ever happens but I don’t foresee that happening down the road. Russell has never failed at anything he has ever attempted. He’s going to try make the Colorado Rockies. That’s where I see him.”

Glennon, who will be a junior in 2011, played in three games last season and completed 9-of-13 passes for 78 yards. He has 52 career attempts for 326 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Glennon, one of the top quarterback recruits in his class, is bigger than Wilson at 6 feet 6 and 225 pounds, and O’Brien said the offense will have to be restructured for Glennon.

O’Brien has previously compared Glennon to former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, an NFL star with the Atlanta Falcons.

“Michael is really talented,” O’Brien said. “It’s going to be fun. The offense was constructed for what Russell was able to do well, now we have to do that with Michael and get ready to play with him.”

State returns six starters from an offense which ranked among the ACC leaders in scoring (31.8 points per game) and total yards (404.5 per game). Glennon will have three starters back on the offensive line, All-ACC tight end George Bryan and promising running back Mustafa Green.

Tyler Brosius, a redshirt freshman from Waynesville, enters the spring as Glennon’s backup, O’Brien said. State signed Brian Taylor, from Harnett Central, in its recruiting class announced on Wednesday.

Notes: Three players won’t return for the 2011 season, O’Brien said. Sam Jones, a backup offensive lineman, has left the program for family reasons. Henry Lawson, a backup offensive lineman, graduated and won’t return and Colby Jackson, a special teams contributor, will apply for a medical hardship because of a reoccurring knee injury.

O’Brien also announced two injured players, tackle Andrew Wallace and fullback Logan Winkles, will be out until mid-October. Both players underwent knee surgery for ACL injuries.

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